Two years later, Safe Routes grant still unspent
by Hawkins Teague
May 07, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nearly two years after being awarded a Safe Routes to School grant from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the City of Cadiz is still looking for a way to spend more than 20 percent of its budget.

In July 2006, the city received notification from the Transportation Cabinet that they had been awarded $246,000 through the Safe Routes to School Program. In the city’s application, Renaissance on Main Director Cindy Sholar had allocated about a fifth of their requested quarter-million-dollar budget for a traffic light at the Trigg County schools’ crosswalk. The intention was that the light would be installed at the crosswalk and pedestrians could press a button when they wished to cross. The light would then turn red, forcing oncoming traffic to stop and allow the person to cross. The light would remain green when no one was waiting to cross. When the city was approved for the grant, the Transportation Cabinet had allocated $50,000 for the installation of the light.

Since then, the plans have been on hold, and Sholar received final notification that the traffic light would not be allowed. Last week, Sholar told The Cadiz Record that she and the city’s engineer, Frank Williams, were still looking for a way to allocate the $50,000 so that the final plans could be approved. She said it has been difficult because without the traffic light, the original plans wouldn’t work. She said she was still talking with Transportation Cabinet officials and had recently spoken to Tim McGinnis, superintendent of Trigg County Schools, about their options.

“I’ve never had a project this hard to complete,” Sholar said.

Safe Routes to School Coordinator Shane Tucker said that each of the approved projects was looked at by the cabinet as a whole. He said that since he wasn’t part of the decision-making process, he couldn’t be sure, but thought that the proposed traffic light might have been deemed acceptable at that time. Once officials looked closer at the details, they might have decided that the installation of a traffic light at the crosswalk wouldn’t work, he said.

Tucker said that although the grant money wouldn’t be available forever, the city was not in danger of losing it as long as it continued to modify its plans. He said that it looked like the city might have been held up as much by the Transportation Cabinet as the other way around.

“As long as we can show justification to the Federal Highway Administration (as to why the grant hasn’t yet been used), the funds will still be available,” Tucker said.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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